Tag: Intestate Law

In what Parish do I file a Louisiana Succession?

This is a question that we receive often. It’s fairly easy for people to acquire property in different parishes, especially when they’ve been married and divorced a time or two. An ever changing job market sends people across parish and state lines and back again and this can create a headache when the time comes to split up property between heirs.

We’re here to help you with your Louisiana succession here at the Andries Law Firm. At this point, you are probably dealing with a great deal of stress after the recent passing of a loved one or you are plotting out ways to make it easier on your heirs when you pass. Either way, we are here to help you along the way.

We highly recommend that you speak with an experienced Louisiana succession attorney at the Andries Law Firm to get additional information that may not be covered in this article.

Where do I file a succession in Louisiana?

The Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides us with the answer:

A proceeding to open a succession shall be brought in the district court of the parish where the deceased was domiciled at the time of his death.

If the deceased was not domiciled in the state at the time of his death, his succession may be opened in the district court of any parish where:

  1. Immovable property of the deceased is situated; or,
  2. Movable property of the deceased is situated, if he owned no immovable property in the state at the time of his death.

Let’s break that code article down and explain it better. No matter where a person may have property situated in the state, his/her succession is to be opened in the district court of the parish where he/she was domiciled when he/she died. What does domicile mean in Louisiana? This is an important distinction when determining where to file such matters as a divorce or succession.

The domicile of a person is the place of his habitual residence. A person may live in multiple places, but can only have one domicile. This means you can own numerous homes, but your domicile is where you intend to stay.

In determining which parish to file a Louisiana succession, you must determine domicile to know which district court to file the petition. For example: Bob owns three homes, one in Rapides parish, Avoyelles parish and Grant parish. His main home is in Rapides parish where he dies. His parish of last domicile was Rapides Parish and that is where his succession will be filed.

Now that you have a better understanding of domicile in Louisiana, let’s say the deceased had moved out of Louisiana, but still had some of the homes when he died. You would then file the succession in the district court of any parish where the immovable property (homes) are located.

Sounds easy? What if the deceased had sold the homes and moved out of state before dying? In that case, you look to find movables such as vehicles or trailers and file in the parish where that property is located.

Most Louisiana successions are filed in the parish where the person died, but I wanted you to be aware that there are other scenarios to consider.

Is a Louisiana Succession Necessary? Is Probate Required in Louisiana?

A succession is a vehicle in which to transfer the estate of the deceased to his successors. This gives the successors the right to take possession of the estate and property of the deceased upon complying with Louisiana succession law.

A succession in required in Louisiana whether a person dies with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate), unless there is another way to transfer the assets to heirs. Life insurance, annuities, retirement accounts and IRAs require beneficiary designations and thus have the ability to go directly to the beneficiaries named in the paperwork on the account. This is a great reason to purchase life insurance for your heirs in Louisiana. In these instances, the beneficiary to the account can submit a certified death certificate and a beneficiary claim form to have these assets turned over to them.

Any other assets the deceased may have had will likely have to go through the probate process. This includes movables such as vehicles and trailers, as well as immovable such as homes and rental properties. Assets the deceased had in his/her name will not be available to anyone else until the succession is opened. This includes children. Many people believe that adult children automatically control the succession, but this is not true, especially when there is a valid Louisiana Last Will & Testament in place.

To answer the question as to whether a succession in Louisiana is necessary, it usually is, but you can set an appointment with us to determine what and where you need to file.

How much does it cost to open a Succession in Louisiana?

This is another question our law firm received regularly. It really depends. Each parish is different, but usually ranges anywhere from $300 to $700 just to file the paperwork. I have seen differences of $150 or more just based on parish filing fee differences.

Attorney fees for preparing Louisiana successions range depending on whether you are dealing with a small succession or a large and complicated succession that is contested. Legal fees for Louisiana successions can range from $1,500 to upwards of $10,000. A typical regular succession that requires filing in the courthouse seems to average roughly $2,500 plus filing fees depending on parish.

Set an appointment with us to determine pricing based on your situation. We do succession work in parishes all around the state and can help you with your situation.

 

Louisiana successions can add more stress to an already difficult situation. You may have just lost a loved one and are scrambling to try and put the pieces together and figure out what to do next. Call the Andries Law Firm and we will gladly walk you through the process and answer your questions. You can schedule an appointment with an experienced Louisiana Succession Attorney by calling (318) 229-1608 or send us an email.

 

Similar Louisiana Succession Articles: Louisiana Usufruct Law, In what parish do I file a Succession?, Does my spouse get the house if I die without a will in Louisiana?, Can you disinherit children in Louisiana?

 

Does my spouse get the house if I die without a will in Louisiana?

If you’ve discovered this article through Google search, chances are you’re deciding whether or not you need to execute a will to protect your spouse in the event you pass before him/her. Louisiana succession law can be complicated. I’ll do my best to answer your questions in this article, but it’s always recommended to contact us if you have further questions or need clarification.

So, let’s begin answering your questions as to “What happens if I die without a will in Louisiana?” First, you must determine how you and your spouse own property. Louisiana is a community property state, meaning that unless you executed a prenuptial agreement before you got married, you are creating community property with each purchase. That means that even though one party may be paying more or all of the bills, it is still the property of both husband and wife.

Clients call me all the time to ask whether or not their spouse will inherit the home if they die without a will. It depends on a number of factors that I can explain. If you purchased the home before you were married, it is considered your separate property. Louisiana laws have determined that separate property goes to the children in full ownership if you die without a will.

For example, Bill purchased a home before he married Sue. He had children that weren’t Sue’s. He did not execute a valid Louisiana will and he died intestate, or without a will. His children inherit the home in full ownership because it was his separate property. Obviously, there are a few caveats, but that’s for another article.

For out next example, let’s assume Bill and Sue purchased the home together after they were married. Bill still didn’t write a will and he died and he had children that were not Sue’s. Step Children is where we see the most issues in Louisiana successions. The home is classified as the couple’s community property, however, the children still inherit Bill’s ½ of the community property even though Sue is still alive and living in the home.

Wait, what?! My step-children can own ½ of my home even though I purchased it with my husband?

Yes and I’ll explain why. The home in this example was purchased together after Bill and Sue were married. It was their community property and Bill did not have a will. That means that his ½ of the home will be inherited by his children because he did not state that he wanted a different outcome. If you don’t have a will, the State of Louisiana will fill in the blanks.

Can my step-children kick me out of the home?

Not exactly. You still own your ½ of the community property and the law gives you usufruct over his ½. That allows you to stay in the home and “use” his half. They could force you out if the home were his separate property, but since they purchased it during the marriage, it’s considered community property in Louisiana.

What is a usufruct?

Usufruct means “use.” It essentially gives you the use of the other half of the property while his children are what’s known as naked owners. They own his half, but you are allowed to possess it and use it as you see fit.

How long does usufruct last in Louisiana?

Here’s the tricky part: the way the law is written gives you either until you remarry or die. Basically, your “use” of his ½ of the marital home will expire if you remarry and his children will be able to force you to either purchase it or move out.

I don’t like that outcome, what can be done?

In this example, nothing can be done because Bill had already died. If you want your spouse to be able to use your ½ of the community property for life, you can state in your Last Will and Testament that you desire your spouse to have a lifetime usufruct. That is if you still want your children to inherit your portion once your spouse dies.

What if I want my spouse to inherit my property in full ownership?

You can do exactly that! You would need to state your wishes in a Will or else the State of Louisiana will make the decision for you and your surviving spouse may have to make some uncomfortable decisions.

How do I choose whether to give my spouse usufruct over my portion or full ownership?

That depends on if you want your half of the home to revert back to your estate when your surviving spouse dies. Let’s do one more example to help you make this decision. It involves step-children on both sides.

Example: Bill and Sue married and each had children from previous marriages. Bill dies first and dies intestate (no will). Sue is granted lifetime usufruct over his ½ of the home and lives there until she dies. Her ½ goes to her children and Bill’s ½ reverts back to his children.

A lot of people like to plan their estates this way to bring property back to their estate once their surviving spouse no longer has a use for it. Had Bill given her the property in full ownership through a valid Louisiana Will, her children would have inherited the home in full ownership and Bill’s children would not have gotten his ½ years down the road.

Many of our clients use the lifetime usufruct to ensure their children get the benefits of their property once their surviving spouse dies to the exclusion of their step-children.

 

Louisiana succession law and estate planning can be complicated. It’s important to speak with a licensed Louisiana attorney that understands the intricacies of intestacy law and will sit with you and explain your options. The Andries Law Firm can do exactly that! Call to set up an appointment.

 

Similar Louisiana Succession Articles: Louisiana Intestate Law Primer, Succession Law, What is a Usufruct?, Forced Heirs: Can I Disinherit my Children? 

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